The International Writers Magazine

Hitting On All Sixes
Xara Higgs

can still taste those sweet whiskey cocktails Bobby made. He always makes them taste real swell. I don’t know what it is that he does but they’re always so much better than anyone else’s. Janey thinks I’ve got some sort of crush on him but honestly I have never heard anything so ridiculous. It’s going to take more of a man than him to make me go goofy. Last night was so fantastic though; it sure would have made one hell of a dream.

We managed to dance all through the night, right into the morning. Janey and Marianna practically danced from Tommy’s car straight into the club. I told Sammy I’d stay and wait for her outside though, she really despises going to clubs on her own and I simply can’t stand being early.

I stood and waited for her across the street so I could watch who was coming in and out. There were people milling around outside the gates for a while just waiting to go in, it looked set to be a busy night, but then it always is at the Puncheon. Since Charlie and Jack swung open its doors it’s been the hottest place in town. They sure know how to throw a swell party. I’d go as far too say that they’re the best in the whole of Manhattan, they’ve always got hooch and they hardly ever get raided.

Sammy showed up soon enough but I didn’t really want to go in just yet, so we took a walk down 52nd street and just talked and drank gin from my hipflask. We were still feeling a little wired from all the shimmying we’d been doing at this joint we went to the night before. But we thought, what better way to cure the post party blues than by the hair of the dog.

Sammy was talking about California again; she thinks she’s going to become some big movie star. Truth is she probably could be if she really wanted; she’s really got it, a real doll. But there’s no way I’m moving to California with her, not this week anyhow. I like it here too much.

After our little pre-party pick-me-up, and when Sammy had finally finished dreaming about being the next Louise Brooks, we decided that we better go inside. Marianna and Janey might be wondering where we got to and anyhow my flask was dry and we were both out of ciggies.

We could hear the Charleston playing as soon as we passed through the big black doors, and we could see there were plenty of fellas in there, Bobby too, even some fly boys. Some tall fella with dark hair used a line on Sammy the moment we got in and we just fell about laughing, he looked so put out. I think he thought he was being really smooth but boy, was he a flat tire. I can’t remember what he said exactly but it was something about Sammy having eyes deep enough to swim in. What a gyp. Honestly that sort of talk is enough to make any girl run a mile.

Sammy and me took a quick turn around the joint to see who had turned out for the evening. The usual crowd was there, everyone was dressed up to the nines. I forgot it was Jack’s birthday so everyone had really gone all out. It looked like it was going to be a real good night. People were dancing everywhere, the hooch was flowing and everyone was having a right wild time. It didn’t take us long to find Janey and Marianna. They were both already fried on too much giggle water and hadn’t stopped dancing since they got in. Janey hollered at Sammy and me to get a wiggle on. Sammy didn’t have to be asked twice she could Charleston better than anyone, but I politely declined Janey’s drunken flails in favor of finding myself a fella to fetch me another drink.

I walked upstairs and looked around then headed back down toward the bar, I could see plenty of fellas around but I guess I was really looking out for Bobby. Maybe I am a bit stuck on him. He was bound to be there somewhere he always comes to Puncheon. I was pretty sure I saw him stood somewhere near the back doors just after we got in.

I noticed Charlie and Henry, as I was walking around, they were necking in the corner. Again. What a pair of fags. I don’t know how their wives don’t realize. They’re either always hopped up, or love really is blind. Honestly I have never seen two fellas look more like a couple of Ethels. It sure makes me laugh every-time I see them together. I went over to say hi and asked them if they’d seen Bobby anywhere but they started joking around and saying that I was all in love with him, but I gave it to them straight and said that it wasn’t true, I ain’t nobody’s doll I told them. I don’t think Charlie believes me though, but he did tell me that Bobby was there, standing up by the middle staircase somewhere.

I went to go and find him and eventually I did. He was stood next to the stage, laughing and joking with his friend John and some girls. Bobby was usually surrounded by a crowd of giggling girls, I’m not saying that he’s some sort of lounge lizard it’s just that girls always seem to like him. I wasn’t jealous or nothing though there are plenty of fellas I could have if I wanted. It just would have been nice to see him and say hi that’s all. Don’t get me wrong the last thing I want to do is go steady with him, because I’m really having a nifty time on my own. Anyway, most of the girls he was with looked like regular bug-eyed-betties. At least they did from where I was standing.

I decided not to go over. I didn’t really want to tussle my way in just be another floozy draped over his shoulder. He knew I was there, he could come and find me if he wanted to say hi. Instead I bought myself a Martini and went back to find the others. Predictably, they were all still dancing like wild bearcats. Boy, they would dance all day if they could. I stood there and just watched them for a while. They sure looked like they were having a swell time. I was going to go and join in but first I had to take a trip to the powder room. And boy am I glad I did because you will never guess what I overheard in there.

I’m not sure who the girl saying it was exactly, but she sure knew who I was and I sure knew who she was talking to. It was Fiona that English girl who had a thing going with Tommy for a while. She’s a real nasty piece of work if you ask me. There were a couple of other girls there too who I sort of recognized. They were from the Upper East Side. I remember seeing them around some juice joints over the summer.

Anyway, they all came in to the powder room, when I was already in there and I could hear them beating their gums about something or another. I wasn’t really listening until I heard one of them mention Bobby. So I stayed real quiet so they wouldn’t hear me and pushed my door open slightly so I could see who they were. I knew Fiona was there I’d recognize that nasty British accent anywhere. She and one of the Upper East Side girls were talking about how nice they thought Bobby was and wouldn’t it be swell to be his girlfriend. The girl she was talking with seemed to have a real thing for him but she was getting frustrated because he was giving her the icy mitt. But then, and I still don’t believe this, she said that she thought his being cold had something to do with some plain faced blonde she’d seen him with, who was usually all over him.

I heard Fiona mention my name so I knew she was talking about me. Plain faced, I don’t think so. I got more going on than she does, and I’m never all over Bobby it’s the other way round if anything. That Jane didn’t know what she was talking about, she’d do well to mind her own potatoes if you ask me. But that’s not even the half of it. She said that Bobby’s father knows hers and that if he knew Bobby was playing around with some little two-bit tramp then he’d be in big trouble. So she said that the next time she saw me she was going to put me in my place and tell me to back off because Bobby’s hers.

Well that got me so mad. But if that was the case, I thought there’s no time like the present. That flour lover had put me in such a lather. I swung open my door and walked right up to them. You should have seen the looks on their faces, they didn’t even try to hide their surprise. I stood there for a few seconds just staring at them not saying any thing. Then I checked myself in the mirror and turned to walk out. They were deadly silent the whole while, how wet could they be. But before I left I stopped and turned round and looked that snobby Dumb Dora right in her piggy little eyes.
‘Sorry, I thought you had something you wanted to say to me’ I said. But she didn’t say anything, just went red like a beetroot and shook her head.
‘That’s what I thought’, I said. ‘You’d do well to keep your little opinions to yourself anyway’. As soon as I walked out the room a big old smile stretched itself right across my face. I wanted to hurry back to the dance floor and tell the girls what had just happened, but not before I paid Charlie a little visit. If those girls thought that was the end of it they had another thing coming. I found Charlie in the same corner he was in an hour ago and told him about the little incident in the powder room. He told me not to worry about it he’d take care of it. He said that nobody is rude about his little Annabel especially not on Jack’s birthday.

I went back and danced with everyone on the dance floor, the music was the best and once I’d forgotten about those nasty girls I had myself a high old time just joking about with Sammy and Marianna. I danced so much my legs felt like they were turning to jell-o. And I was so pleased when Bobby came over to see me and say hi. I knew it, I knew if I left it long enough he would come over to me, but he said he’d been waiting for me to come over to him. Guess he got tired of waiting. Anyway he gave me some of the whisky cocktail he had in his flask and asked me if I wanted to sit outside with him and have a smoke. There was no point being coy anymore so I just said yes. We started to walk over toward the main doors but then the funniest thing happened.

Fiona and her little crowd were all stood by the door arguing with Charlie and Jack. It turns out that good old Charlie had told Jack what happened and he was asking them to leave. He told them that he wasn’t prepared to put up with their sort on his birthday. He’s always had a big soft spot for me. Fiona actually looked like she was set to start crying. None of them knew what had hit them. I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched them get escorted out. Jack turned around and gave me a wink as they were leaving, which I think Fiona noticed. Can’t say I don’t think they deserve it though.

Bobby was stood behind me holding me round the waist as we watched the commotion. He asked me what I supposed happened to them. But there was no way I was telling him so I simply laughed and said that why, I just couldn’t possibly imagine.
© Xara Higgs Feb 2006
xarahiggs at

Xara is a writer on the MA in Creative Writing at Portsmouth University

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